Food & Action: Recipe for Change Boxes (and Frankfurter Pasta Recipe)
Chocolate Box is a Church Army project supporting vulnerable women in the North of England. Our aim is to provide love, support, and opportunities for change, with an emphasis on building community and sharing the love of Jesus!
Chocolate Box is a place of belonging for lots of women who struggle with complex issues such as homelessness, substance misuse, sex work, exploitation, domestic violence, and debt. At our non-residential house, we provide a safe space for women to feel at home, and find friendship and a church family (as well as endless cups of tea and slices of cake!).
Like everyone over the last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic we had to change the way we operate. We have continued to reach out to women and build community in creative ways through doorstep visits, walks in the park, home activity packs and endless phone calls.
Particularly popular during the many lockdowns have been our Recipe for Change Boxes! These Hello Fresh or Gusto style recipe boxes include all the ingredients to create three fresh meals from scratch, with portions big enough for two or three people. The aim of the boxes is to provide the women with activities to do at home during lockdown which also encourages them to learn new skills and have fun. The recipe boxes are designed to be different to the normal food parcels, which many women rely on. We always include more ‘luxury’ items such as meat, fresh veg, or organic produce so that the women can cook lovely fresh meals.
In week one, every woman received their ‘starter pack’ which included pots, pans, a chopping board, a wooden spoon, and everything else you might need to cook up some delicious recipes! After this, about every 6 weeks we distributed a new box with three new recipes in. We have made soups, pies, pasta dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and spag bol, as well as cakes and cookies.
We started with more simple recipes such as one pot pasta and have built up to more complex dishes such as home-made steak pie! We also include a tasty dessert in every box such as ‘cake in mug’, Christmas Rice Crispy Cakes, and Angel Delight. Jane* (*name changed) said that she always looks forward to receiving her box and she’s cooked meals she hasn’t eaten since she was a child.
Due to the chaotic and challenging circumstances some women find themselves in, many have never learnt to cook even basic meals, whilst others haven’t since school. The recipe boxes have provided a great first step to get back into the kitchen. We have had great fun learning new things and trying new recipes together.
We have given out six rounds of boxes so far to a core group of between 7-11 women each time. Our hope is that after we have done 10 rounds boxes, we will be able to celebrate with the women who will have learnt 30 new recipes!
It has been a joy to see the women grow in confidence with cooking and trying new foods.
The recipe boxes also enables us to develop meaningful relationships as we see each other regularly, chat about life and God as well as how they have found the most recent recipes. Mealtimes are such an important part of community and the Recipe Boxes have given us a way to continue to share something of that, even at a distance.
If you would like to support the Recipe for Change Boxes, please donate to Chocolate Box’s JustGiving page where you can also suggest one of your favourite recipes for us to try!
Recipe: Frankfurter Pasta
- 90g pasta (pasta twirls are good but any bite sized pasta works!)
- 2 tsps vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper (or red/yellow if you’d rather) deseeded and sliced
- 60g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tomato, peeled and chopped
- Good pinch dried mustard and I’ve used a good dash of Worcestershire sauce /Henderson’s Relish (optional)
- 120g frankfurters, cut into 1 inch lengths
- 5 tbsps natural yoghurt
- Cook pasta in salted water according to packaging instructions.
- Heat oil in wok or saucepan, add onion and pepper and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, tomato, and frankfurters to the onion and pepper and stir well. If you want to add mustard and Worcestershire sauce/Henderson’s Relish, add this in now too.
- Cover the pan and leave over a moderate heat for about 4 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Remove frankfurter mixture from heat and stir in yoghurt.
- Drain pasta and mix with frankfurter mixture. Serve and enjoy!